Khai Dinh’s Mandarin

This is our entry in Lost in Translation’s BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: TRACES OF THE PAST Y2-06.

In February 2017, we visited the Imperial Tombs in Hue, Vietnam. There are a lot of them scattered over the countryside. The picture below was taken near the tomb of Khai Dinh, who was the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. He ruled from 1916 to 1925; his tomb was built from 1920 to 1931.

The photo shows statues of civil leaders, military soldiers, mandarins, elephants, and horses; the figure in the foreground is a mandarin. The tomb is built as a series of terraces. These statues are located on the Bai Dinh Courtyard (or Salutation Court), which is the second terrace.  The actual tomb of Khai Dinh is located above the fifth terrace.

We were amazed at the reverence our guide showed these tombs. He didn’t seem to be strongly religious (few of the Vietnamese seemed as consumed with religion as other Southeast Asian countries) and Khai Dinh was not a very good emperor. Despite this, our guide treated this place as holy ground.


This photo was taken on February 19, 2017. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/125 sec, 18 mm